1 October 2013
Gov't invests to grow electronic printing
MISSISSAUGA, ON—The Government of Canada, through the National Research Council of Canada, is teaming with a consortium of industrial players to foster innovations in electronic printing, inks and processes.

The Printable Electronics program will team resources and expertise from the public and private spheres, with the goal of developing smart packaging for interactive consumer products, like food labels that can signal when food has gone bad, or thinly printed RFID antennas.

"This new program and consortium will position Canada as a global leader in printable electronics," said Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology) in a statement. He added that the five-year initiative will benefit consumers and boost the economy.

"Printable electronic technology allows everyday objects to interact with customers in ways that were unimaginable five years ago," said Dan Wayner, vice-president at the NRC's Emerging Technologies division. "It will lead to a revolution in the manufacturing of high-volume, interactive consumer products and security documents."

Printable electronics is a relatively new field that occupies a shared space between the printing industry, and the information and communications technology industry. New materials are combined with existing processes to produce electronic devices on flexible materials like paper or plastic.

An example of already-existing printed electronics are the buttons on a microwave oven. Down the line, possible innovations include smart drug packaging that can track dosage history, smart labels for lower-cost wireless supply chain management, and a range of security and anti-counterfeiting applications.

The Printable Electronics program is comprised of a $40-million investment from the NRC, and a $16-million contribution from the business consortium.

Industry players include Kruger's Krupack Packaging, Xerox Research Centre of Canada, GGI International, RFID Canada, Jones Packaging, the Communication Research Centre of Canada, MW Canada, and Canadian Bank Note Company.

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